Although our spot on the Rideau River is lovely, sometimes you need a change of pace and to get out of the city.Why not take our boards with you? I have compiled a list of my 10 favourite spots within 2 hours of Ottawa to paddle. I am sure I have left some great spots off but with so much great paddling in the area who could blame me. Every spot on this list can be a day trip but some could be week long excursions.
Wakefield - 30 minutes
Acharming town and lovely spot to paddle along the Gatineau River, there is lots to see and do here and is very accessible from Ottawa. There are a few access spots along the river but parking can be difficult on busy days. You can also visit nearby Morrisons Quarry, there isn’t much to paddle but it is so picturesque and so much fun watching bungee jumpers that I had to mention it.
Meech Lake - 30 minutes
Meech Lake is a beautiful and highly accessible place to paddle. Less than a half hour from Ottawa it boasts beautiful scenery, clean and calm water and very little boat traffic. There is a boat launch just across from the parking lot that is easily within walking distance. You will have to pay for parking though.
Manotick - 30 minutes
Manotick is a great spot to paddle the Rideau River and just a short drive from Ottawa. A great spot for beginners as the current isn’t too strong like some rivers and less choppy than an open lake. There is a public boat launch with parking on South River dr., just beside the Long Island Aquatic Club. Paddle upstream for the longest route before hitting a lock station.
Arnprior - 50 minutes
A great kicking off point to a beautiful area filled with many paddleable lakes including, White Lake and Calabogie Lake. I personally like to camp at Fitzroy Provincial Park, which has fantastic wilderness feeling camping, and explore a new lake each day. Arnprior on its own though, is a great day trip. Where the Ottawa River meets the Madawaska River, there is plenty to explore. There is an amazing launch point at the end of John St N at Robert Simpson Park. The park is beautiful with plenty going on including a beach, playground, concession stand and public washrooms. There is parking available and a great spot to launch off the beach.
Lac La Peche - 1 hour
One of my favourites on this list, Lac le Peche offers a beautiful paddle with many scenic wilderness areas to explore. The hour drive is beautiful and there is lots of paid parking. An easy day trip or spend the night at one of the canoe/sup camping sites. The sites take between 30 minutes to 2 hours to get to.
Silver Lake - 1.25 hours
A lovely little lake off hwy 7 just past Perth, is a nice place to paddle with cottagers so friendly they offered us in for a drink as we paddled by Maybe not big enough for an all day excursion but you can definitely get in a few good hours. Silver Lake is a provincial park but if you keep going passed the entrance, about a minute down hwy 7, there is a little spot with a washroom, free parking and a great spot to launch from.
White Lake - 1.25 hours
Just a quick drive from Arnprior, White Lake is a lovely secluded spot lined with trees that offer some protection from the wind. You could definitely spend all day exploring this lake especially since there is free parking and a perfect boat launch at the Waba Cottage Museum and Gardens. There were no washrooms facilities that I saw but there is a convienence store just down the road.
Calabogie Lake - 1.5 hours
This Lake is nice and calm and very scenic with lovely hills and a beautiful picturesque resort. You can launch at Barnet Park just off of hwy 508 where there is a proper boat launch, free parking and washroom facilities. It is also a very popular cottage destination if you are looking for a place to vacation.
Lac Blue Sea - 1.5 hours
This pretty lake in a quaint hamlet makes for a nice paddle but the real draw card is the mythical snake like animal with a horse head the Algonquins named “Misiganebic”. It was spotted several times between 1913 and 1930 and although not seen since I still have high hopes I will spot him on my next paddle. Even if you don’t catch a glimpse of the giant seahorse, the crystal clear water is enough of a reason to come SUP here. There is a boat launch on Rue Principale and parking behind the municipal building.
Charleston Lake - 1.75 hours
The furthest away but my favourite spot to paddle, Charleston is a large lake with plenty of islands that could keep you paddling for days. It is a provincial park so you will have to pay to enter but it is totally worth it. There are numerous spots to launch from and even a dog swimming area so you can bring your pooch. The camping there is excellent with both car camping and backcountry paddling sites. If you have a few days to kill or even just one, I highly recommend it!